Collected Stories

Collected Stories

Book - 2015
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The work of John Barth, whose novels defined the postmodern ’60s even as they gestured in the direction of Scheherazade and Boccaccio, is in dire need of reassessment, which makes a Collected Stories welcome. Four Barth collections are assembled by Dalkey, including 1968’s Lost in the Funhouse , generally regarded as a masterpiece. And rightfully so, with its carnivalesque deconstruction of the coming-of-age story (the title story and others), revisionist Greek myths (“Echo”), and upending of literary conventions both minimal (“Title”) and maximal (“Anonymiad”) exhilarating as ever. Barth’s next collection, On with the Story , didn’t appear until 1996 and there’s something noticeably labored in the cadence of the writer/narrator who theorizes fruitlessly around his protagonists (Cape Cod professorial types mostly) who theorize an awful lot on their own works (One story begins, “‘Are we particles,’ Amy wants to know, ‘or waves?’”). But the other two collections—2004’s The Book of Ten Nights and a Night and 2008’s The Development —are a revelation, the first being essentially a series of false starts by a writer called Graybard in the wake of 9/11 and the second a series of nested suburban yarns set in a gated community, where the conversation and atmosphere is thick with Bush-era malaise. This is a hefty omnibus, clocking in at 800 pages, and may be a bit overwhelming to neophytes of the author. But for Barth devotees, it’s a gift to have so much in one place. (Oct.) --Staff (Reviewed August 3, 2015) (Publishers Weekly, vol 262, issue 31, p)
Publisher: Champaign : Dalkey Archive Press, 2015
ISBN: 9781628970951
Branch Call Number: F Bar


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